London, April 18, IRNA - Iran has issued a formal complaint to the British government over the statement made by Defense Secretary Des Browne in which the name of the Persian Gulf was distorted.
In a memo to the Iran Coordination Group at the Foreign Office, the Iranian mission expressed 'its strongest protest at such a serious oversight', an embassy spokesman told IRNA.
During a statement to parliament on Monday apologizing for damaging the reputation of UK armed forces, Browne 'used the forged name of (Arabian) gulf instead of internationally recognized official name of the Persian Gulf', the embassy said.
It reminded the Foreign Office that it was with regret, a distortion 'repeatedly done by other officials of the UK Ministry of Defense'.
In his statement to MPs, the defense secretary insisted that 15 sailors and marines arrested by Iran last month were part of a coalition task force operating 'in the northern (Arabian) gulf, under the authority of a UN resolution'.
Browne also said he 'profoundly regretted' the 'mistake' of allowing the sailors to sell their stories to the media for propaganda purposes that backfired on the UK government and the reputation of the UK armed forces.
"In consistent with the UN documents as well as other reliable international sources, we call upon British side to abide by its obligations using the true and official name of the Persian Gulf in future," the Iranian Embassy said.
The British Council issued an apology last month after being reprimanded by Iran for distorting the name of the Persian Gulf in a publication on the position of English as a global language.
"As the UK's international cultural relations agency, we acknowledge the sensitive nature of this issue and apologize for any offense that this may have caused," a spokesman for the council said.
"In response to the matter, we have changed the content of the online version of our commissioned research English text and all subsequent reprints of the research will now reflect this change with immediate effect," the spokesman also said.
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